U.S. News

Poll: Majority say socialism is incompatible with American values

By Ed Adamczyk   |   May 6, 2019 at 2:10 PM
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., R, a self-described socialist, campaigns for the Democratic presidential nomination with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in Washington, D.C., on April 10. A Monmouth University poll released Monday indicates that a majority of respondents feel that socialism is incompatible with American values. File Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI

May 6 (UPI) -- A majority of respondents say that socialism is incompatible with American values, a Monmouth University poll released Monday says.

Among Americans, 57 percent, call socialism not compatible with American values, with 29 percent saying it is compatible. Fort-two percent of respondents voiced a negative opinion of socialism in general, with only 10 percent offering a positive view. The remaining 45 percent called themselves neutral on the issue.

On the subject of capitalism, 39 percent have a positive opinion of capitalism in general, 17 percent hold a negative view and 40 percent are neutral.

The poll did not offer definitions of socialism or capitalism, terms with often fluid meanings for respondents, and the results offered some contradictory opinion.

The majority agreed that socialism "takes away too many individual rights," with 35 percent saying it occurs a great deal and 25 percent agreeing somewhat. Thirteen percent say the phrase does not describe socialism much and 20 percent said it does not describe socialism at all.

However, half the respondents said that socialism "is a way to make things fairer for working people," with 15 percent agreeing a great deal and 35 percent agreeing somewhat.

"We may be in a period of flux with how these economic systems are viewed. Socialism still carries a stigma, but many Americans feel they are being left behind by the current capitalist system. Policies that have traditionally been seen as socialist may be getting more popular even if the term itself is not," said Patrick Murray, Monmouth University Polling Institute director.

Seventy-eight percent of those with pro-capitalist or anti-socialist sentiments are self-identified Republicans or Republican-leaning, and skew older, with 47 percent age 55 or older.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, is a self-described Democratic socialist and the only 2020 presidential candidate to refer to himself in those terms.

The Monmouth University poll was conducted by telephone from April 11 to 15, with 801 adults across the country. The results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.